Steve has written poetry from an early age, inspired by his late father (Ted), who was once known as The Policeman Poet (featured on TV News-Nationwide).


Steve took his own show to the Edinburgh and Brighton Festival Fringes based on his autobiographical work, Fast Train Approaching…, which is a powerful, yet good humoured account of life during and after breakdown and recovery.


He's intrigued by what makes us human, and the process of creative transformation.


For his day job, he used to be a Principal Environmental Health Officer, and currently works as a Global HSE Manager for a manufacturing company. He’s also an Associate with Business Disability International (bdi).


Steve has a daughter and a son and lives with his second wife Liz, a physiotherapist, in Tunbridge Wells.










Cover illustration by Ellen Montelius





138 x 216mm


36 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-23-7


PUB:  28th NOVEMBER 2016










This is a collection of 32 sensitive poems covering a wide range of topics from transformation, to death, to lust.


The poems happen to span the years from Steve’s first breakdown, from the road to recovery to the path of resilience.  




'These poems are utterly frank; Walter has the knack of combining the beautiful with the bleak.

He shuffles through memories, pulls aside the “sheeted veils of the afternoon” to expose past wounds, shows us how the future can be haunted by the present, and yet somehow allows the autumn sun to flood straight in.'

Abegail Morley


'When the Change Came is an engaging, varied and most satisfying collection – lyrical, intelligent poems of love and death that are by turns tender, erotic, witty, elegiac and celebratory.'

Michael Laskey


'These poems are secrets whispered in your ear; you don’t know what you are going to hear until you turn the page – a childhood memory of dissecting a heart or smoking French cigarettes, an erotic fantasy told through a painted lampshade, intimate portraits of parents ageing –always surprising and with an element of risk, ‘holding a beast in the balance.’ Steve has the ability not only to capture an image but to make you want to see it yourself again and again.'

Sarah Salway




When the Change Came


Steve Walter



And the guttering red rock

sliced like decks of cards

slanted into the sea.


And she is there in the mist

in the sea breeze she

is in the gathering dark

she rides the mounting forces

which rise beneath the blackening waves

and she is in the quilted sky


she is there in the billowing

sheeted veils of the afternoon

and in the rakish cry of the gulls

screaming over the graves of shearwater

skeletons, she is at the exits of hollowed burrows

among bits of dead bird, dead rabbit, scattered

beside the remains of Iron Age homesteads

and she is marking the way

in Celtic stone, against the unforgiving grey.



All I need


If I were to be honest all I need is what I am.

So why do I long for her, her taste, her touch


Her sex? Surely knowing that I could…

Ought to now to be enough. But I do not want


Only to remember her warmth, her kiss,

Her skin, her smile, her playful laughter.


What I want is to relive those first few weeks,

Months, hours, days, when there was nothing


In the world that mattered more

Than to be together. When our embrace


Broke the hearts of lovers not yet born

And we took what we each had to give


As if it were a child, to grow with us.

All I need is what I am. I am that child in her.


She is in me. I cannot forget. I even remember

The shapes of the bedclothes each morning


As if our every movement were captured

In their soft folds, mounds and crevices.


And I remember the voice of the singer

Who sang to the bonding of our muscles


And limbs, matching the rhythm, and sang again

The day we parted, releasing each other.



When the change came


He was sleeping.

Time ran over his backbone

hopping, skipping, jumping

on each vertebra to feel, to mould

to breathe new bone, a spine that could carry

great gluts of muscle and fur, the body

rippling with the weight, strength, power –

hands bursting into massive paws, rod-thick claws

treading the earth devoutly, decidedly, with intent

and deep from his belly, a shout, a bellow, a roar

yet rolling playfully, a ton of brazen, brown-furred bounty


until the dewfall and with the cold

on those deep-set eyes, a turning of day into night,

the following dawn a violation of form,

a shrinking into a wiry cluster of bones,

human skeleton plucked from the forest floor

more like a bird than a bear

yet standing, standing upright –




The book. A hardback. Brought home from conference,

the police radio crackling to itself over lunch,

his thick, navy, woollen jacket in the porch. Or was it black?


A mountain lion in silhouette, at sunrise or sunset,

the title seemed to embrace so much more

than simply the web of the interconnected.


This gift to me showed that he cared. He cared too about

Man’s destruction of planet Earth, and the loss

of all we are linked to – of life evolving.


Not the ground divided equally into metre quadrats,

for the counting of biology, botany, caught within the frame

but the real, the unique, the individuals of the species.


His arm around me. Rarely. Those moments

continue to live, as does this book

its pages now, holding a beast in the balance.




Dancing on Jermyn Street


Only a few years after the war, after

the coronation, ghosts lining the streets

waving flags; West End Central.

He was stationed there – you in art school.


On the corner you recognized

each other, merely a pigeon’s brief

flap and glide from where you stood to Eros,

the fountain; your broad Piccadilly smiles.


Him in uniform, a Swanley lad,

it was then that the moment was sealed,

you’d both be caught in monochrome

leaning out of the train window, beaming


on your journey, after the vows,

with our future in your loving.

And he would write you poems

even until death. Remembering


that moment, when he caught your arm

as you strode out, the length of the path

making to leave, and he brought

you back inside, out of the sun.


One evening you kissed us good night

in the emerald, silk dress you’d made for dancing.

Always you would dance with colour

on your palette; pigment quickens through water.

SW5 by Ellen Montelius amend Walter